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Depth-dependent dive kinematics suggest cost-efficient foraging strategies by tiger sharks

Andrzejaczek, S., Gleiss, A.C., Lear, K.O., Pattiaratchi, C., Chapple, T.K. and Meekan, M.G. (2020) Depth-dependent dive kinematics suggest cost-efficient foraging strategies by tiger sharks. Royal Society Open Science, 7 (8). Art. 200789.

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Tiger sharks, Galeocerdo cuvier, are a keystone, top-order predator that are assumed to engage in cost-efficient movement and foraging patterns. To investigate the extent to which oscillatory diving by tiger sharks conform to these patterns, we used a biologging approach to model their cost of transport. High-resolution biologging tags with tri-axial sensors were deployed on 21 tiger sharks at Ningaloo Reef for durations of 5–48 h. Using overall dynamic body acceleration as a proxy for energy expenditure, we modelled the cost of transport of oscillatory movements of varying geometries in both horizontal and vertical planes for tiger sharks. The cost of horizontal transport was minimized by descending at the smallest possible angle and ascending at an angle of 5–14°, meaning that vertical oscillations conserved energy compared to swimming at a level depth. The reduction of vertical travel costs occurred at steeper angles. The absolute dive angles of tiger sharks increased between inshore and offshore zones, presumably to reduce the cost of transport while continuously hunting for prey in both benthic and surface habitats. Oscillatory movements of tiger sharks conform to strategies of cost-efficient foraging, and shallow inshore habitats appear to be an important habitat for both hunting prey and conserving energy while travelling.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems
Harry Butler Institute
Publisher: The Royal Society Publishing
Copyright: © 2020 The Authors.
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